Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A recipe and more flowers

Good morning Friends ~ Today is a new day and I wish to look for the good in it, to do what I can and be thankful.

We did have a truly great rain from that thunderstorm the other night. It made all growing things happy.

Yesterday I puttered indoors. I cooked a pot of Navy pea beans with diced ham, chopped onion and green pepper, sliced carrots, minced garlic, concentrated vegetable broth and water. This was in the crockpot and made the place smell so good and comforting.  Then I made a delicious Ricotta Coffee Cake that I made for the first time last September and I wrote on the recipe that it was great. It is and rich.


Ricotta Coffee Cake


    2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1-1/2 cup butter (room temp.)
    3/4 cups sugar
    2 eggs
    1 cup ricotta cheese
    1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    1 tablespoon nutmeg


    Grease 13x9 cake pan. In small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Beat the butter and sugar well until fluffy. Add the eggs and ricotta. Beat in the flour mixture. Scrape sides and beat briefly again. Batter will be thick. Spread batter into pan.
    Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over top. Refrigerate uncovered overnight. In morning, preheat oven to 350° and bake for 40 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.


Instead of the cinnamon nut topping I left it off and spread on some Smucker’s orange marmalade. I had added orange extract to the mix too, and this was oh so yummy.  I had a slice last night and then one this morning with coffee. Very nice.

Today I want to do more ‘home-caring’ inside. One blog that really inspires me to get my act together is Leslie’s, Spruce Pine Cottage. She lives in northern FL and her home is so lovely and decorated so nicely and is so orderly. Something for FlowerLady aspires to.

Below are some blooms from this morning.  It looks like we may get more rain today.  We had a little yesterday. The other day when I had done the driveway work, I had mowed before that, so I got that all done just in time as we had a whopper thunderstorm that evening with LOTS of rain.

Rain lilies growing up in the crack between side patio and step up to front patio.


Rubber vine ~ this can be very invasive so I keep it cut back. 

The blooms are very pretty though, but the sap is not nice at all.


Another unknown rose.



Today I also want to take photos of several more crocheted needle cases and get them uploaded and listed in my little Etsy shop.

Hope you all have a good day or evening wherever you are.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Flowers & outdoor work

Good afternoon Friends ~ It is 6:12 EST. and we are having a thunderstorm with heavy rains. We needed this as it’s been 2-3 weeks since we’ve had any rain here.  This is great.  Miss Tork has run for cover under the bed.

This morning I knew I wanted to work outside, as rain was predicted, even though those predictions don’t always happen. So, I decided to trim and weed the east side of the driveway.  I do as much as I can, as I can’t trim high or thick stuff.  DH would do that with his saws-all, then I would cut it all up smaller. I’ve probably going to have to hire someone to do this. I’ll think about it later.   This is hanging out over the driveway.



I did what I could and am glad to have that done.  Stuff brushing up against the van as I drove down the driveway was a sign I better get out my tools and go to work. A pole cutter, a tree saw and my handy dandy clippers.






Pink Pet or Caldwell’s Pink




Another unknown


Twirling butterflies


Blue butterfly bush


Trumpet vine


Blanket flower


Hamelia paten


Hamelia paten and copperleaf




Clock vine ~ Thungergia


Philippine viloets


Thunbergia erecta






Blue pea vine


I want to thank all of you for your kind comments on my bedroom project. The next morning after I had posted it I thought, oh good grief, now I’ve done it. How embarrassing. I showed my friend at work and she literally ‘gasped’, and I’m sure some of you did the same thing, you just were kind enough to not tell me. Smile

Well, I better end this as the lightening is close and I don’t want to get zapped.

Have a nice week ~ Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

Friday, August 23, 2013

What flower is this?

Hi Folks ~ I’m at work and a girlfriend had these cuttings sitting on my desk when I got here this morning. She passes this tree on the way to work and wanted to know if I knew what it was.  I’ve not even seen it that I know of.  She said it is full of these hang down deals and yellow flowers.  She also brought me a little black fruit from it.  I assume there are seeds inside, but I don’t know.

We are in  s.e. FL zone 10.

It sure is a neat looking bloom and I’m sure there is someone out there who can give us the name of it.

Thanks for looking and for the info in advance. Smile




Thursday, August 22, 2013

Life continues …

… one day at a time. Those who follow this little blog know that I’ve been working on the bedroom lately.  Our little cottage is around 675 sq. ft. The bedroom after taking down wall between two tiny bedrooms is now 8 ft. 9 inches by 23 ft. The smaller bedroom had been storage.  Stuff left over from being in business, personal stuff, stuff from the attic because we had emptied it so that DH could take out old insulation, and he put in thick pink insulation and a new plywood floor, two to three years ago, ended up being in this tiny space. Being artistic and always having more than one project going at any given time,  and not knowing what to do with stuff, the stuff just kept accumulating. We had had ups and downs and worked at living life one day at a time. It’s all any of us can do. Life throws us curve balls, things that hurt, things that try to destroy us, try to destroy our faith. But you keep plugging away.

We’ve basically lived on a shoestring our whole married life. We had low times financially and we had better times. We always wanted to work with our hands and that’s what we did. We were in picture framing for awhile, but a recession happened in ‘76 and we couldn’t hold on. We went hungry, we hibernated, then we got the urge to pick up and start again. We had yard sales, then set up at a local flea market for 15 years, had a booth in an antique mall, then had our own little antique shop for 8 years. Our landlord decided he wanted our shop for himself, and wouldn’t renew our lease and gave us 30 days to get out. We found a shop in the next town, but it wasn’t the same, we were alone, where as the area we had been in was known for all the antique shops there in a three block area, it’s still there to this day.  (The landlord didn’t last but a couple of years in our old shop.)

The new shop we moved to ended up having a huge leak onto our stuff after the landlord had told us he had fixed the roof and it would never leak again. Then we found out that the road was going to be worked on and that would take a year or more, so we decided to get the heck out of Dodge. We decided to auction everything off, which was heartbreaking, and it was all gone in one day. We were depressed, but in time we started to feel free again and relieved to not have to be under that pressure of having your own business. We worked for two years for a wealthy couple on the intra-coastal as a ‘handy couple’.

My DH had done antique restoration for us and for other shop owners and one day a friend of ours who still had a shop where we had been, called and said someone wanted to know who he used for antique restoration, so had given the guy our phone #. The guy called and came out to our house and lo and behold, he had bought from us when we had our shop.  DH did do antique restoration for him, and then the guy asked DH if he thought I would like to run his shop when he wasn’t there.  DH said yes, because I had missed having our shop, but he would ask me and we would let him know. Well, he asked, I said yes, and I’ve been there for 16 years now.

DH retired from doing restoration work, and I’m wondering now if the cancer wasn’t already growing and making him not feel good. He did work for neighbors on their houses, and worked on projects here. His being a ‘jack of almost all trades’ saved us LOTS of money through the years. We did the work ourselves, except for concrete work on out buildings.

Anyway, to get back to the bedroom. Yesterday morning I went out to my shed to look at what I needed to do to be able to bring the small desk from there into the bedroom, and started clearing out some stuff there, when all of a sudden I felt, wait a minute, I don’t have to do this now. It was horribly hot, humid and there was too much to accomplish in a day or even two. I was really starting to get depressed with the house being a wreck from having things stacked all over while I went through stuff, sorted into keep, throw away, give away and sell. Our ‘accumulation’ took years to ‘accumulate’, I can’t go through it all and have a perfectly redone little cottage over night, it’s going to take time. I wasn’t taking care of my gardens, I wasn’t creating any more needleworks.  WAIT  A  MINUTE   !!!  What is wrong with this picture? I got nudged to just clear the second shelf unit that I ‘was going to move out to my shed, and refill the shelves with what I wanted to hang onto until I decide what to do with it. Some is artwork for sale and I don’t want to put it out where bugs might eat it.

I worked on that all day yesterday and was bushed but satisfied with my days progress.  I look at all the posts of lovely put together homes and want to just crawl in a hole. I’ve shown parts of our cottage and have enjoyed all of your comments, but I never showed the ugly, who would. I’m going to show it now, the before, the now that is during, and later I will show the after. I eventually want to have the bead board paneling on all the walls. IN TIME.  It doesn’t all have to be done yesterday.

I am still a new widow, I need to relax more. I had a good sob when looking at the pics to post here. I’m now doing the work of two, and it’s a new way of living. It makes me really feel for young widows with children. I’ve read some of their stories and am amazed at how they go on as best they can.  God gives us the strength we need no matter what our situation is.

Ok, here are the photos. There are some that will cause ‘gasps’.

I posted the desk area I worked on recently and will repost the pics here so that you can get an idea of how I want the whole room to look when finished. This is looking north into the storage space. As you can see, we just had a path way to the back door.


This is the wall to the left/east which has the bathroom on the other side. The plumbing of shower had leaked  so we had taken the wall boards off the wall to look at the problem. The pipes are behind that beige piece of furniture.


I put up a sheet of the particle board bead board paneling and hung pantings. I love it.


Here is the back door, with closet space behind curtains on either side. The little oil paintings were done by DH’s grandmother and his grandfather did the pine needle work around them. Pine needles collected on this property.  This was their house before they passed away, before we came home from Spain.


Now, we have some of the ugly. I am truly embarrassed to even show it, but it’s to inspire others out there to take ugly areas and transform them the best you can with what you have.


I bought 4 three drawer Sterilite units on wheels for $10 each and changed them into three 4 drawer units to raise it to the height I wanted for the old enamel table top that we had.  You can see the old gray linoleum flooring. Talk about ugly.  We laid down oak looking laminate in the kitchen, living room and hallway, and I have the flooring stacked in the workshop to lay in this room.  We were going to camp out in the caravan while we emptied this room so that we could redo the walls and do the flooring, but alas, God had other plans and called DH to his heavenly home.


Here is the two overloaded shelf units with stuff stacked in front too. Good grief!


Here this space is as of this morning. On the top shelf of the metal shelf unit is an antique wall clock that I want to hang again. We bought it in Spain from a little elderly lady who was selling it out of her house. It’s too heavy and awkward for me to lift off the shelf by myself, so I’ll need BIL’s help the next time he comes down to work on a project.


This is our sleeping area. I’ve since changed the curtain arrangement on the windows, but the rest is the same. We ‘found’ the head and foot boards in Spain, we think they are Spanish colonial in style, dumped on the side of the road. They are made of beech, I stained them dark on our balcony with a little utility brush. It’s a double size.


This is our dresser, which we paid $150 for many years ago and I wanted to keep it instead of putting it in our little antique shop because it went well with our bed. They both have similar wooden turnings that I love.


So, there you have another glimpse into Plum Cottage. The living is simple, there has been much love, laughter and some tears and this little place holds lots of memories for this girl named ‘FlowerLady’ by her DH.

Home is where your heart is. No matter how big, small, finished, unfinished, do what you can with it and be thankful. So many in the world have a lot less and feel blessed with what they have.

I made forward progress and now feel like I can catch my breath for a bit. I can see things better, I appreciate things more and am ever so grateful for the love DH and I had.

This has turned out long and I hope I didn’t put you all to sleep.

That’s it for now. I’ve still more to do, but there’s always tomorrow, and when it comes I’ll do what I can and do my best to not stress about the rest.  Life is too short for that.

Love and hugs and God’s blessings for you all ~ FlowerLady

Monday, August 19, 2013

Good day– bedroom project

Good afternoon Friends,

This morning was the widows’ group ‘Friends Needing Friends’ meeting/luncheon and it was great!  There were 25 of us I think. We had some newbies who had not been before and that was good, not that they are widows, but that they came.  I and one other lady are the newest widows, meaning when we lost our husbands, still under a year.  Some of these ladies have been widowed for many years. We all have this connection, we are a sisterhood. Not one we would have chosen, but here we are.  It is wonderful to get together to encourage one another, and help in any ways that we can. I am thankful I found this group, it was God’s doing.

I just finished editing photos and sent them to the founder of our group, Dotti, to view then let me know which ones she wants me to upload to the groups’ blog. I’ll either get the post up tonight or early in the morning. 

We had a raffle and my number and a few other ladies’ was called and I won a bouquet of flowers. I put the flowers in an older green glass vase I had and put it in the scullery window.  It was very bright out today and hot and humid. Cool and dimmer inside.




Each of us was given a little teddy bear  and a big hug from our guest speaker today. The teddy bear represented God’s love to us. He loves us deeply and we don’t have to do anything to get his love.  It was really a wonderful demonstration and very moving as she went around to each lady giving and receiving a big hug as she gave us all a sweet little memento of God’s love.  The little bear’s shirt has a pink emblem that we all are familiar with, and it’s  a reminder to pray for those who are survivors of or those who have breast cancer.

The little pink bear has now joined my bear ‘family’. Looking at them makes me feel happy.


When I came home from the meeting, I was greeted by Miss Tork.  Very nice.  She and my dear husband used to wait together for me to pull into the driveway.  She is carrying on now that he’s gone and I think it’s neat.  She’s here most times when I come home from work and that’s a treat for me. Coming home is very lonely at times.


Anyway, it was a great meeting.  Please, if you know of any widows, let them know you are thinking of them. If you see them, give them a hug, a pat on the back, listen if they want to talk about their husbands, pray for them. You are giving them priceless gifts.


My bedroom project almost feels like a nightmare. Stuff is stacked all over in this tiny place in the bedroom, living room and kitchen. I’m going to move this second metal shelf unit out to my little shed that houses my washing machine and bulk items. I will be taking out a desk that is probably from the 40’s, veneered, and was DH’s grandmothers’ little desk. We had put it out in my shed because I thought I was going to paint out there, and maybe I did, but I don’t remember doing so. It just wasn’t right and I just couldn’t get back ‘into’ painting again. The desk will come in here and who knows I just might start painting again. I really LOVE working with threads though, ribbons and beads too.

This project is slow going and will be done when it gets done. Smile

I’ve got to mow, do weeding and trimming, things need watering too as we’ve not had a good rain in a couple of weeks now. Plus working part-time etc. is keeping me busy.

It’s time for supper, salmon patties, made with canned salmon, Italian bread crumbs, red onion and beaten egg. I’ll open and heat up a can of LeSueur Peas, and fix Idaho instant mashed potatoes.  I’m sipping on a pre-dinner glass of chardonnay.

Thank you all for being such a great bunch of supporters.  You mean a lot to me.

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sweet surprises

Good morning Folks ~ I have been working in our bedroom/storage rm., going through things that were filling two huge 6 ft. high by 3 ft. wide by 18 inches deep metal shelf units. Before we took the wall down between two tiny bedrooms to make a larger room, the smallest room was used as storage. So, the bedroom as it is now, still has items in there that don’t really belong in the bedroom. Some things we took down from the attic when my DH reinsulated and laid down a new floor in the attic. Some of this will go back up there, some out to the workshop and some into storage barn elsewhere on the property.

I started one unit on Monday, got it out, (what a job that was by myself, as the thing is very unwieldy), then I worked  in storage building barn to get it ready to put this unit in there. It’s there now with some of the items it had held now on the shelves.  Still more to go. Yesterday I started going through things on the second shelf unit.  Lots of art, some of ours and some we bought at flea markets and yard sales back when we had a retail antique shop, many, many years ago. Some I will keep, some I’ll sell, and some stuff has landed in trash bags. Some had water damages from when we had a leak in that room.

Doing this has made me love my DH even more. He was so artistic, could do so many different things, and he encouraged me too, to create in my own ways.  We’ve been pack rats forever, and going through this stuff takes me back years and years ago.

We’ve lived in this tiny cottage since the summer of 1973, which is 40 years ago now. Even though DH is no longer here, I see and feel him everywhere and I miss him so much.

Below are some of the surprises I found on the shelves yesterday.

Pencil drawings from 1972. We were still living in Spain. We were so young.

08-14-me-1972     08-14-dh-1972

DH painted several small paintings on velvet, using Spanish wine bottles.  He made and distressed the picture frame.  Other ones he painted were of daisies and different flowers, I was thrilled to find this one with roses. This is most definitely a keeper. The reflection in the bottle is of our balcony doors in Spain.

08-14-oil-on-velvet2      08-14-oil-on-velvet

This is a pen and ink of our little cottage soon after we moved in. The house was white with mustard yellow shutters and trim.


Here’s another pen and ink drawing. The pitcher is made of oak and has copper bands and handle. We bought it I think for $7 in an antique shop in Spain. This is one of our favorite pieces from our time of living there.


This little painting is a gem to me, I was so happy when I came across this. DH dug this pond by hand. It is no longer there, as we had the pond filled in and built the ‘barn’, storage building in it’s place.  The pond was nice while it lasted, but we had a drought and it dried up and then it was not so nice.  I still have that iron railing and it is not going to be taken to the scrap yard. I’m saving all artistic iron to use around here in various ways.


I ‘used’ to doodle a LOT as a kid and as a newlywed. We had a picture framing shop 1974-1976 and DH talked me into turning my doodles into artwork and he would frame them and we could hopefully sell them in the shop.  I did, he did, and we did.  I found these next two pieces in an old watercolor tablet of mine. This one never was colored as you can see, done in 1976. A happy frog.


This one was painted and I had put some sort of glaze over it. I really like this one. I’m still into flowers.


In time, I’ll show you the before and after pics of the bedroom.   It’s too embarrassing to show now that’s for dang sure. Right now there is stuff piled everywhere as I go through it all, in the living room, bedroom and kitchen, the place is a wreck, but I am making forward progress.  When I get done I hope to have a loving and comfy creative and sleeping area.

Here are 4 - 3 drawer storage units that I turned into 3 - 4 drawer units to bring the height up to where I wanted it for working at. I had an old porcelain table top that I put on top and am happy with the results. I set it up in the kitchen to see how it would look and work first. Each unit has wheels so this thing can be wheeled around if I want. I already moved it into place where the first metal unit had been.


I’ve shed some tears the past few days going through all of this but my love for my dear husband and for God has grown. I am thankful for the 43 years of marriage DH and I had, for the up times and the down times as well, as they are what have made me into the woman that I am and have made me appreciate the love we had so much more. I pray to age gracefully with my heart full of loving memories, and surrounded with the love of my DH and with God’s love and healing strength and presence flowing through and surrounding me as I continue on in this journey. God isn’t finished with me yet.

Thank you all for your love and support. Thank you for following along since I started this blog 5 years ago next month. 

Happy living, loving, gardening, creating, cooking, etc. ~ FlowerLady


This mess is a place!

Author Unknown

Dust is just a country accent. 

Author Unknown

God made rainy days (or too hot and humid days) so gardeners could get the housework done. 

Author Unknown